Getting good customer help when you have an issue whether it’s after you have made a purchase of some cubic zirconia rings from an online store and one of the rings is the wrong design, or your computer is not functioning properly, will make all the difference in how you feel about the experience. I mention the cubic zirconia rings because that actually happened to my girlfriend. She bought three different styles of cubic zirconia rings in three different colors and when they arrived, one of the rings was totally different from what she order. Fortunately she had done her research about the store before she bought the jewelry and the reviews all mentioned their top notch customer service. And true to the reviews, the store’s customer support sent out the correct ring the day she called to complain. They didn’t even wait until the wrong cubic zirconia ring was shipped back. That was impressive. Now regarding Debian customer support versus Windows and Mac. The outcome is not always as satisfying as my girlfriend’s cubic zirconia rings experience however…….
One of the top questions or objections that is commonly raised about Debian (or Linux of any type) concerns support. There is a widespread myth that using Linux rather than Windows or Mac places you outside the support sphere — that you will have a much more difficult time getting help and assistance when you need it.
My immediate response would be: what kind of help are you getting now? My own experiences with Microsoft has, almost exclusively, been of the self-help variety anyway. I usually have to sift through dozens of semi-appropriate Knowledge Base articles, or poorly-written “read me” files that only cover up to three updates ago, before I find even remotely-related info.
The only luck that I’ve had getting support with my Windows machines comes when so many other people are having the same problem that the hardware and software manufacturers are shamed into making the solution available in an easy and obvious way…which is funny, because it contrasts so significantly with the usual way.
On the other hand, “official” Mac is definitely a different flavor. Customer support tends to be more chipper and savvy than the PC versions. Self-help can be a little trickier to find, but with fewer hardware and software options you should be able to spend much less time to discover that nobody on earth has a clue why your machine is doing what it’s doing…but they’ll be happy to let you pay them to tell you so.
But this is not to bash anyone’s favorite OS (there are a million places to indulge that particular distraction). This is to help you realize that the support that you can expect with Debian is just as good, if not better, than what you can expect from your previous OS.
Okay, if you are so clueless on a computer that you spent several days trying to find the “Any” key, you’ll probably want to stick with a product with 24/7 telephone service. Linux may not be for you. But the “only for geeks” myth plays on your fears and ignores the fact that most modern computer-users have the ability to search the web and follow directions. That ability may be locked deep inside you from a lifetime of dependence and attention-span-destroying pastimes, but it’s there.
And even if it isn’t, or if you just can’t be bothered, there are alternatives. You can always find someone who will let you pay them to tell you the things you can find out on your own. The only difference is that the Debian support folks will know what they’re doing, not just reading from a printed flow-chart in their call center cubicle.
It is always nice to deal with experience.